About the Scrap Metal We Buy
Planning on selling the scrap metal lying around your property? Be it aluminum, copper, or brass, Fair Salvage Company in Central Michigan can purchase your recyclable materials at great prices. Learn about the scrap metal we purchase by reading the information on this page. Interested in joining the recycling industry? We also offer employment opportunities at our recycling yards.
Definitions of Recyclable Materials Purchased
Review the material you are bringing in to get an idea of what we purchase your material as. Scales will review your item on site, make note that scales have final decision for how the material is graded and purchased.
Bare Bright: Only bright, shiny wire that is not coated fits into this category. Each individual strand of the wire must be the size of a No.2 pencil lead or larger. No contaminants allowed to receive full price, includes enamel coating.
Number 1: For wire, each individual strand of the wire must be the size of a No.2 pencil lead or larger. Corrosion and small amounts of paint is acceptable. For pipe and other copper material, it must be clean and shiny to the point that you can still read the original manufacturer stamp. No contaminants allowed to receive full price, includes enamel coating.
Number 2: For wire, each individual strand is smaller than the size of a No. 2 pencil lead. For pipe, other copper material, and wire, the only contaminations allowed is corrosion, paint, enamel coating, and solder. All other contaminants are not allowed to receive full price. (Clean copper that has been casted regardless of size gets purchased as number 2 copper.)
Number 3: Sheet copper. Examples: copper pans, flashing. The only contamination allowed is corrosion, paint, enamel coating and solder. All other contaminants are not allowed to receive full price.
Insulated #1: Must have only one coat of insulation and each individual strand of copper must be larger than a number two pencil lead. No ends, enamel coating, lead or steel is allowed to receive full price. All #1 insulated copper must be at least 70% copper and no more than 30% insulation coating by weight.
Romex: Plastic coated Romex. Each strand is #2 pencil lead size and bigger, individually coated, and one more coating holding all the strands together. No ends, enamel coating, lead or steel is allowed to receive full price. (Fiber coated wire with no ends will be purchased as #2 insulated.) Individual strands without the outer coating holding the strands together will be purchased as house wire.
Insulated #2: Example: regular housing extension cords and power supply cords without any ends or steel. Enamel coated copper strands are acceptable.
Insulated #3: Communication cable such as phone and computer cables without any ends or steel. Enamel coated copper strands are acceptable. Items that fit into the Insulated #2 category but have ends as long as they are not steel will be purchased as insulated #3.
Insulated #3 With Ends: Same as insulated #3 but can contain ends as long as they are not steel. Steel ends go into Christmas lights category.
Christmas Lights: Household Christmas tree lights. Large bulbs must be removed, all others are acceptable. Copper coax cable and wire with steel ends are to be purchased as Christmas lights.
Red Brass: The mixture of copper and yellow brass that gives the brass item a reddish tint to the visual color. Paint, and solder does not lower the value. The only item that can be attached to red brass and not lowed the value is copper. All other contaminants must be removed to receive full price. Enamel coating is not accepted in this category.
Yellow Brass: Plumbing fittings, faucets, EDM wire, EDM chops, etc. Chrome (enamel) plate, paint, and solder does not lower the value. The only item that can be attached to brass and not lower the value is copper. All plastic, wood, etc. must be removed to receive full price.
Brass Turnings: Brass turnings or shaving that are dry and clean, free of any other contaminants such as dust or metal. Normally found as a byproduct out of machine chops. EDM chops will be purchased as brass turnings.
Irony Brass: Yellow brass or copper with excessive contamination. Must be at least 50% yellow brass or copper by weight.
Clean Aluminum Wheels: Must be made of aluminum. Contaminants such as plastic coating, chrome plating, lead weights, or valve stems must not be present to receive full purchase value (See Unclean Aluminum Wheels).
Unclean Aluminum Wheels: Must be made of aluminum. Wheels that contain plastic coating, chrome plating, lead weights, or valve stems are purchased under this category.
Semi Wheels: Will be purchased as Cast Aluminum if they are made of aluminum and the wheel weights and valve stems are removed.
Aluminum Clad Wheels: Aluminum wheels with plastic
Old Sheet: any type of aluminum sheet with small amounts of contamination such as screws, staples, light tar, caulk, etc. No wood, stainless, or cast aluminum. Pop cans are also purchased as old sheet as well as other cans such as aluminum cat food cans. Pontoon floats are purchased as old sheet but they must have a hole cut in them so we can see that there is no water etc. inside.
Painted aluminum: Siding, soffit, fascia, and other similar materials. Most sheet type aluminum’s that have been factory painted (not hand painted) and are completely free of contaminants.
Cast aluminum: Grill tops and clean aluminum pistons are good examples. Must be completely free of contamination. All casted product breaks. It does not bend or dent.
Clip aluminum: Clean, shiny, and rough aluminum like lawn chair frames. Must be completely free of contamination. Chrome plated material with a mirrored finish will be purchased as old sheet.
Extruded aluminum: Example: window and door frames. Material has been run through an “extruder” so it is molded, not folded. Must be completely free of contamination.
Unclean Extruded Aluminum: Example: window and door frames. Material has been run through an “extruder” so it is molded, not folded. This product has small amounts of contamination such as screws, staples, light tar, caulk, etc. (No wood or stainless). The contamination can’t exceed 2% of the weight.
Irony Aluminum: Aluminum with excessive contamination. Must still be at least 50% aluminum by weight.
Die Cast: The mixture of zinc and aluminum that is a casted product 99% of the time. Examples: vehicles trim parts and trophy figurines. This product is a much denser product than cast aluminum.
Magnesium: A material that is used in part for its extreme lightweight and strength. Once lit on fire, it will burn with a very bright white and reacts to battery acid by a smoking side effect. Examples: chainsaw shrouds, ladders and concrete finish tools.
Stainless Steel: must be non-magnetic (a magnet will not stick to it) and have no steel or other contamination attached. Stainless with plastic backing will be purchased at 1/2 the current board price.
Irony Stainless: Stainless will get purchased as Irony Stainless if any contaminants are attached to the stainless steel item.
Batteries: all lead acid batteries. No NiCad, Lithium, or Alkaline. Battery will say “lead” on it or have the lead recycling logo with “Pb”. Battery jumper packs will be purchased as batteries but price at $0.10/lb.
Steel Case Batteries: Example: electric fork truck batteries. Sealed lead acid battery cells incased in a steel housing. Battery backup boxes will be purchased as steel case but priced at $0.10/lb.
Soft Lead: Example: seals of cast iron pipe and sinkers. A very dense and soft material with no contaminants allowed to receive full price.
Wheel Weights: Example: lead jigs with steel hooks and lead wheel weights off car rims. Lead with excessive contamination. Must be at least 50% lead by weight.
To receive full price on radiators, all plastic, steel and other contaminants must be removed.
Auto Rad: constructed of brass and copper
Aluminum Rads: constructed of aluminum
Copper/Aluminum Rads: constructed of aluminum fins with copper tubes
Heater Cores: brass cores only with no contaminants. Aluminum cores will be purchased as aluminum radiators. Heater cores with contaminates will be purchased as irony brass.
Aluminum Transmission: Complete housed transmissions and transfer cases only. Partial or fully steel housed transmissions or transfer cases are purchased as unclean motor cast. Torque converters must be removed and oil drained. Aluminum transmissions and transfer cases are bought by the pound.
Ballasts: Normally found in fluorescent light units. The block is used to transform the rough electricity into usable/rated output for the light. All ballasts must have a label that reads NO PCBs. All others will be purchased as sheet iron.
Electric Motors: Typically found as items with a steel housing and copper windings wrapped around inside. Electric motors with aluminum windings are purchased as sheet iron. No plastic, garbage disposals, washing machine motors, or any excess material that is not directly related to the motor itself is to be present to receive full value price. Example: well pump motor, the pump must be removed first, and then the steel housed electric motor is purchased at full value.
Starters and Alternators: include most aluminum nose and housing models. Starters with steel nose cone will be purchased as an electric motor. Generator motors out of heavy machinery will be purchased as electric motors.
Sealed Units: These are Freon compressor pumps typically found in refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners. The pump must be by itself with no attachment and must be made of stamped steel. Cast iron compressors will be purchased as sheet iron.
Complete and Incomplete PC Towers: Personal computer towers that are 100% intact will be purchased as complete, but if any item is missing from the computer, tower it will be purchased as incomplete. Even if all the parts are there but dismantled, it will still fall into the incomplete category.
Complete and Incomplete Laptops: Laptops that are 100% intact (which includes the battery) will be purchased as complete, but if any item is missing from the laptop, it will be purchased as incomplete. Even if all the parts are there but dismantled or the screen is cracked, it will fall into the complete category.
Cell Phones: Any type of cell phone that has the battery removed before hand. Bag phones are not included.
Cell Phones/Laptop Batteries (lithium ion only): Batteries that come from laptops and cell phones that are exclusively lithium ion brand.
Purchased as irony aluminum with rings and/or rods still attached. Purchased as cast aluminum when no steel is present.
Important note regarding plate and structural and alloy free materials:
There cannot be any galvanized/chrome material. Nuts and bolts are ok if attached to the Plate & Structural material, but nuts and bolts cannot be purchased as Plate & Structural by themselves. If they are mixed in loose in the load, it will be downgraded to Short Steel or 4×2.
2 Foot Plate and Structural: Must be cut into 2 foot by 18 inches and smaller but can ONLY be plate and structural material such as plate steel, I-beam, H-beam, and angle iron that are at least one quarter of an inch thick.
5 Foot Plate and Structural: Purchasable specifications are the same as 2 foot plate and structural. The only difference is the size dimensions. Anything 5 foot by 2 foot and under but over the 2 foot and structural dimensions will fall into this category for purchase.
Alloy-Free: Must be cut into 2 foot by 18 inch or smaller pieces and be 3/16 of an inch thick or thicker to receive full purchase value. Material must be I-beam, H-beam, and angle iron. Steel car size wheels (18 inch rims and smaller) are purchased as alloy free as long as the wheel weights, valve steams, chrome, harden steel, and alloys are not present.
Short Steel: Includes all ferrous steel items. Must be cut into 2 foot by 18 inch or smaller pieces and be 3/16 of an inch thick or thicker to receive full purchase value. Examples: nuts, bolts and hardened steel. Items not allowed are galvanized, chrome, sealed containers (includes differentials without holes in the cover), alloys, and pinched pipe.
Mixed Cast: Includes cast iron items such as some gears, and older farm equipment. Porcelain (NO unbreakable or machine). Cast iron breaks. It does not bend or dent.
Machinery Cast: Heavy cast iron. Examples include; machines such as presses, lathers, and contester weights
Clean Motor Cast: Gasoline engine blocks with the cam in it only (see-through block), brake drums, rotors, intake manifolds, exhaust manifolds, and gasoline engine heads will be purchased as clean auto.
No spark plugs, sheet iron, aluminum, copper wires, or plastic can be present on any of these items.
We will no longer purchase crank shafts, wheel bearings, brake calipers, wheel cylinders, water pumps, or diesel blocks as clean auto cast. All of these items will be purchased as 4×2 after July 1st 2017.
Unclean Motor Cast: Includes gas motor blocks that are cast iron with the aluminum and sheet iron. All fluids must be drained. Additional items include cast iron transmissions and transfer cases. Aluminum Car Engines get purchase as unclean motor
Diesel Motor: Includes all diesel engines. All fluids must be drained. Unbreakable cast will also go into this category.
4×2 Steel: Includes all ferrous steel items. Must be cut into 2 foot by 4 foot or smaller pieces and be 3/16 of an inch thick or thicker to receive full sale value.
Examples: nuts, bolts, and hardened steel. Items not allowed are galvanized, chrome, sealed containers (includes differentials without holes in the cover), alloys, and pinched pipe.
Unprepared Structural: Must be 1/4 of an inch thick or thicker, and must be plate steel, I-beam, H-beam or angle iron to fight into this category. This category is the same specs as the plate and structural categories, except the material is too big in size dimensions.
Unprepared: Must be 3/16 of an inch or thicker and includes all the above materials that have not been cleaned or prepared using the information above.
Rebar: Loose reinforcing bar
Steel Cable and Fencing: Rolled chained fence and steel cable longer than 4ft
ALL CARBODY: Includes cars, pickup trucks, vans, and similar vehicles (does not include buses and motor homes). To receive full value on a vehicle the frame must be intact and all vehicles must have a clear title. The fuel tank must be either removed or have a large hole in the bottom of the tank (large enough to stick your head inside). If the fuel tank is not removed or have a large hole in it, you will be charged a $30.00 service fee to pay for the disposal of fluids. A vehicle cut up must still have a clear title. Loose tires are not allowed inside vehicles other than the factory spare. The four bolted on tires are allowed without deductions. *ALL TIRES MUST BE ON RIMS
Complete Carbody: Everything attached besides the battery. NO EXCEPTIONS
Incomplete Carbody: Car can be missing parts
Sheet Iron: Includes washers, dryers, all refrigerators and freezers must have freon drained and compressor removed, stoves, and other similar items. Galvanized and chrome material fits in this category as well.
Steel turnings: Steel shavings that are normally found as a byproduct out of machine shops.
Unbreakable Cast: Example: counter weight off heavy equipment. This category includes all cast iron that is too thick to be processed. All unbreakable cast is bought under the diesel motor category.
- Any items requiring proof of ownership and proof is not turned in at the scale. Vehicles and trailers without a matching clear and signed title will not be purchased. Boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc. must have a registration turned in.
- Radioactive material. All material entering Fair Salvage is scanned for radioactivity.
- Any type of sealed container that has not been cut open enough where we can’t see it is clean, dry, and free of hazardous material.
- Vehicles with propane or natural gas tanks still attached.
- All materials made of or containing asbestos.
- Transformers that still contain oil.
- All items coming from or appear to have come from a grave site, monument, or public property.
- Any type of gauge, thermostat, etc. that contains mercury.
- Any metal that is excessively covered in dirt, concrete, or other debris.
- Any refrigeration equipment that has not been certified to be empty of Freon or have had the compressors completely removed from the units.
- Garbage: including but not limited to plastics, loose tires, food, and paper waste.
- Hazardous or Flammable Metal Dust: lead dust, magnesium turnings, etc.
- Propane, acetylene, or any other type of gas tank.
- Television, computer monitors, or any other items with excessive amounts of glass.
- Plastic and glass.
- Precious metals such as gold and silver. It is best to contact a pawn shop or jeweler for these items.
- Money. It is illegal to destroy currency.
- Drums, barrels, and paint cans: Lids must be removed, must be clean and dry, no hazardous residues present.
- Large tanks: Must be clean and dry, valves removed, manholes open, and in position so tank can be inspected at scale or a large hole must be cut in the side of the tanks.
- Tires: Accepted at no charge only when attached to a vehicle (you are allowed four per vehicle, no loose tires in vehicle). Tire deductions for all others will be $5.00 per tire for regular automotive size, $15.00 each for 4X4 and semi-truck size tires, and tractor and industrial equipment tires $25.00 and up depending on the size of the tires. *ALL TIRES MUST BE ON RIMS
- A service fee of $30.00 per vehicle will be charged for each vehicle with a fuel tank still attached or without a large hole in each tank on each vehicle.
- Oil cooled transformers must be dry.
- Refrigeration Equipment: Accepted only if certified empty of Freon or the compressors have been completely removed from the units (simply cutting lines does not count).
- Railroad material: must be accompanied by a sales receipt from the railroad
- Sewer grates and manhole covers need bill of sale
- Ballasts: must have a label stating they are PCB-free.